PLANS for a 100 bedroom hotel have been pushed ahead after Basildon Council agreed to dispose of land worth £1 million for an alleged £1.

Councillors agreed in principal to hand over the land, roughly the size of three football pitches, at a meeting of the policy oversight and strategy committee on Thursday.

Whilst the meeting was held behind closed doors, independent councillor Kerry Smith had made previous claims that the council were selling the land for £1. The five acre site was bought for £1,025,000 in 2017.

Mr Smith alleged that an additional £500,000 would be paid by the council to improve road networks to the potential new site, situated near Nethermayne.

The council has secured an agreement in principle with a hotel developer but is unable to confirm the name of the brand until the necessary legal documentation is completed.

Work will now commence on delivering the new hotel, with the issue set to be brought back before the committee at a later date.

Leader of Basildon Council Andrew Baggott, said: “This is an important and exciting step forward for the area and the borough. After consulting with businesses it became evident that a quality hotel and conference facilities were needed to achieve wider economic benefits.

“This sends a very clear message that not only is Basildon open for business but also that now, in Basildon’s 70th year, it has both come of age and deserves top quality investment and facilities.

“I would like to thank council officers for their hard work in getting this ambitious plan to this stage.”

Kerry Smith is still sceptical about the plans.

He said: “During the meeting they talked about it creating 50 jobs, which means there would be 15 staff on duty at all times, for me that doesn’t add up.

“There was a vote to keep the debate public but the Tories voted against it.

“Lots of the points discussed didn’t really make sense, it’s not been thought through and I don’t believe this kind of information should be withheld from the public.”